Quirkiest Nebraska Attractions, Mapped
Say "Nebraska," and people will think of fields and flat land. This erroneous picture of the state is just plain wrong.
Nebraska boasts impressive bluffs, a robust agrotourism industry and some of the darkest skies in the country. From visiting record-breaking courthouses to seeing an unexpected imitation of Stonehenge, the Cornhusker state also has a wealth of weird and quirky things to do.
Use this Nebraska attractions map to plan a unique trip to the 37th state.
Perhaps the most famous unusual landmark in Nebraska, Carhenge is exactly what its name suggests: a faithful replica of Stonehenge made entirely with discarded cars.
Beginning as an art project in 1987, the roadside attraction is the brainchild of Jim Reinders. Along with friends and family, he painted several cars — including an ambulance — grey and then placed each vehicle to imitate the mysterious English stones.
If you really want to enjoy Carhenge at its best, imitate the good people of England and visit during one of the solstices.
This small town in northern Nebraska has become known around the country for being the smallest incorporated municipality in the U.S. How small are we talking? The population of Monowi is one. No, you didn't read that wrong.
Like so many other rural towns in the U.S., Monowi's residents went to bigger cities searching for better (though definitely not greener) pastures. Only one faithful resident has remained, Elsie Eiler, who is the town's mayor — an easy position to achieve since she votes for herself. She's also the keeper of the Monowi Tavern, where she serves drinks, cooks food and attends to customers all on her own.
Elsie's bright personality and the tavern's dirt-cheap prices bring groups of loyal customers from neighboring towns almost daily. Come for a drink, and see why this is irrefutably one of the best small towns in America.
Annual Testicle Festival
Have you ever tried bull testicles? They're tastier than they sound — trust us, we've had them. And in the small town of Ashland, they're good enough to be celebrated.
Because Nebraskans never miss an opportunity for humor, the Annual Testicle Festival happens on the Saturday before Father's Day Weekend. The center of the celebration is Round the Bend Steakhouse, which has live music, good beer and even better beef "fries."
But the highlight of the night is the one and only Ball Eating Contest, which you absolutely cannot miss.
The World's Smallest Courthouse
You've probably never wondered where the smallest courthouse in the world is. But we're here to provide a fun fact: It's in Arthur, Nebraska.
The courthouse measures only 16 by 28 feet. Built in 1914, it functioned until 1961, despite not having indoor plumbing. While the First Arthur County Courthouse and Jail is no longer part of the judicial system, it is on the National Register of Historic Places. Since it has been converted into a museum, you can make a pit stop in Arthur and see it yourself.
The Wayne Chicken Show
Wayne, Nebraska, loves chickens. Don't believe us? Come in July to see the biggest annual event in town: the Wayne Chicken Show.
Parades, music and tons of contests make this whimsical celebration so much fun that you'll want to come back year after year. Some of the funniest contests involve competing for the most unusual egg and the farthest-flying chicken. If you don't have a chicken of your own, you can rent one just for the festival.
If you'd rather not deal with the hassle of procuring a chicken, you can still participate in fun activities. Wolf down some chicken at the Saucy Hot Wing Eating Contest or show off your acting skills at the National Cluck-Off, where you'll be judged by how convincingly you can immitate a chicken.
Tanking on the North Platte River
Location: North Platte
If you've never heard of tanking, then you're not Nebraskan. This fun summer activity is distinctive to the state and consists of floating down the river on a horse trough. Yes, really.
Tanking is made possible by the unique balance of minerals in the water and the depth of the river, which is why you've never heard anyone outside of the state mention it. Sure, tubing is also fun, but you still get wet. Whereas with tanking, you comfortably sit with a group of friends in a trough spacious enough to hold seats and a table for board games.
You can enjoy this Nebraska tradition in several places, but we recommend heading to the town of North Platte and floating with Dusty Trails. This outfitter stands out for having other cool activities like horseback riding. But if we're honest, part of its appeal is that it is located right next to the Buffalo Bill Ranch Historical Park. You could easily visit the ranch in the morning, then tank the afternoon away.
Doesn't that sound like a perfect Nebraska summer day?
Nebraska Star Party
Location: Merrit Reservoir State Recreation Area
Light pollution is one of the many afflictions of the modern world. But Nebraska offers a refuge from it with incredibly dark skies.
Head to the beautiful Merrit Reservoir State Recreation Area to take advantage of the state's star-studded skies. While the park is a worthy destination at any time of year, try to visit in late July or early August when the annual Nebraska Star Party is held.
Astrology aficionados come year after year, bringing their own telescopes to gaze upon the stars. You don't need to be an expert to participate. The festival holds a Beginner’s Field School, where the interested but inexperienced are taught what to look for. The air is so clear of pollution here that you don't even need a telescope to appreciate it — though one will certainly enhance your experience.
If you were to accidentally end up in Taylor, Nebraska, it wouldn't be long before you ran into grey people. No, we don't mean the old and wise, but the grey cardboard people who populate the town.
With a dwindling population of 207 that will likely not replenish anytime soon, the residents of this city in Nebraska decided to make their own neighbors. A local artist, Marah Sandoz, was tasked with the project of filling the town with cutouts of different kinds of people, dressed in styles that represent the period between 1890 and 1920.
By reliving its heyday, this quaint town has also put itself back on the map. The unusual residents aren't enough to fix the population problem, but they do bring in curious tourists who want to see them first-hand.
World's Largest Time Capsule
On July 4, 1975, the town of Seward decided to leave some memories for posterity. But rather than go for the cliché time capsule, it buried its relics in a 45-ton, 20-feet-tall vault made of concrete measuring.
Over 55 years later, Seward continues to hold the record for having the largest known time capsule in the entire world. When it opens in 2025, people will find over 5,000 relics from the 1970s, including a "brand-new" Chevy Vega.
For now, you can stop to take a picture of the tall white pyramid that guards the capsule.
This small town is unabashedly proud of being the birthplace of Kool-Aid (ohhh, yeah!). Visit the exhibit dedicated to this popular drink at the Hastings Museum.
Or, better yet, come during late August to participate in Kool-Aid Days. This annual festival has floats, a 5k run, contests and, of course, tons of Kool-Aid.